Los Angeles Lakers: Timetable for Lonzo Ball’s return is yet to be determined

Roughly a month after Los Angeles Lakers floor general Lonzo Ball suffered a sprained ankle, there is still no idea as to when he will return to action.

After Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball sustained an ankle injury on January 19, many thought his injury would be getting slightly better by this juncture. However, that is the furthest thing from true.

As a matter of fact, no one even knows a rough estimate as to when the second-year player could return to the hardwood. The scoop on Lonzo’s uncertain timetable was shared by Matthew Schmidt of ClutchPoints (originally via his colleague Ryan Ward).

What compounds things more so is that Ball has not done any on-court drills since he sustained the injury. Certainly, this is not the most promising news for a team that will need everything possible to make a playoff push.

This was confirmed by Christian Rivas of Lonzo Wire on Wednesday, who reported that No. 2 did not practice with the Lakers on said day. Defensive-minded big man, Tyson Chandler, did not participate in the team’s practice, either, according to the same report.

A small-scale positive sign regarding Ball’s progression came about at the beginning of last week, per Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times. As of then, she revealed that the youngster started to run on an anti-gravity treadmill.

Albeit this update provides a glimpse into Ball’s rehab, it is a minor plus at best. The unfortunate thing about it is that it sheds no light on how close he is to returning to any type of contact-type work.

This is discouraging on account of the original timetable that was placed upon the Lakers’ point guard. Following his injury in January, he was allegedly going to be out for four to six weeks.

Clearly, the optimistic four-week benchmark has been surpassed. As dreadful as it sounds, it is becoming more and more likely that Ball may miss beyond six weeks. Outside of the treadmill exercises, there are no legitimate indications the former UCLA Bruin is getting much better.

Given that L.A. had a full week off due to the All-Star break, the lack of available updates on Lonzo is concerning. It does not provide much reason for hope by any stretch of the imagination.

Because of this, it is fair to say the Lakers will continue to struggle from a defensive standpoint. Granted, Ball gets scrutinized quite a bit, his defense in 2018-2019 has been quite impressive at times.

Per Ganguli’s piece, head coach Luke Walton took the time last week to explain why Ball is so instrumental to the Lakers’ defensive plans.

“He allows us to switch a lot,” coach Luke Walton said. “If they want to run any pick and roll minus the center, the 1-5 pick and roll, we can just switch it. And we feel confident Lonzo can guard most of the other players there. We have Lonzo picking up full-court the other team’s point guard. He’s great at instincts, getting deflections. A lot of the schemes don’t change, but our aggression and a few of the switching schemes change without him out there.”

Walton brought up a crucial point when referencing Zo’s instinctive tendencies. As a sophomore, Ball really started to make a name for himself in terms of his ability to read the opposition.

In view of Ball’s absence, though, the Lakers have taken a huge hit in that respect. His presence alone could have been a difference maker in some of the games they have lost since he was sidelined.

Be that as it may, the Lakers will have to grind it out with or without Lonzo Ball. It will take a monstrous effort for them to sneak their way into the postseason. As of when this was written, the squad is three games back from the West’s eighth playoff spot.